One in three primary school leavers faces major learning difficulties, falling short of basic reading and writing skills essential for a successful education. To address this alarming reality, in 2010 the Agir pour l’Ecole association implemented an innovative and effective program to stave off illiteracy and reduce scholastic failure. Created by a network of teachers, guidance counselors, national and regional school inspectors, and researchers in the field of cognitive psychology, all of whom see education as a priority for the country and school failure as a scourge to be combated, the association enjoys steadfast support from the French Ministry of National Education.
Dassault Group learned about Agir pour l’Ecole in 2010 thanks to Jean-Michel Blanquer, then Director General of Schooling at the Ministry of National Education (and a former Rector of the Académie of Créteil). Recognizing the dangers of widespread illiteracy, with 15% of students unable to read and write upon completion of primary school, in 2012 the company chose to support Agir pour l’Ecole’s educational program.
Acquire phonological skills
The association and the many researchers who participate in its work firmly believe that the illiteracy rate can be brought down to 5% by re-examining current approaches to learning and implementing a “structured” phonological teaching method. With one in three primary school teachers feeling powerless to combat scholastic failure, Agir pour l’Ecole will take advantage of experimental research findings to provide educators with new insight. Students embarking on their third and final year of kindergarten are prepared to develop reading skills, and extensive research has made it possible to identify the specific competencies they must acquire before entering first grade. These include phonological awareness (the ability to recognize and organize sounds), the capacity to analyze syllables and learn simple words, as well as knowledge of the alphabet and vocabulary. Mastering these different skills will enable students to learn to read.
It has been proven that 80% of children lacking phonological awareness at the end of their kindergarten years will not have learned to read in second grade and will be almost inevitably destined for scholastic failure.